Napa Vintners Take On Dallas

Over 60 of Napa’s best Vintners invaded Dallas Wednesday pouring some of their finest at both a trade event in the afternoon, and a customer event benefiting The March of Dimes in the evening.  Wine makers from Rocca, Shafer, Miner, Couquerel, Honig, Rambauer, Peju, Ceja and more poured the latest vintages to happy patrons taking an opportunity to connect, and hopefully further develop their following.  The afternoon festivities included about 60 Napa wineries and over 250 samplings, the big event for the evening took place at the Frontiers of Flight museum with 20 of Dallas top chefs and 40 Napa wineries pairing together to raise money for the March of Dimes.  Here are a few favorites:

John Truchard of John Anthony Wine

As I was riding up the elevator at Cityplace for the afternoon tasting I met Jonathan Truchard of John Anthony wine.  Growing up in the Truchard family he knew this was a business he had to step in to, but on his own.  After several years working as a vineyard manager, helping such wineries as Dallas own Coquerel Winery get off the ground, he decided to start making his own.  The best, the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes planted in the early 1990’s in Napa’s Oak Knoll district.  Smoky cherry and licorice flavors with balance and a smooth finish.

Gain Bay Wineryis relatively new on the Napa seen.  Owner Peter Posert’s first vintage was in 2007 from grapes sourced from virtually sourcing the best grapes, for the best prices, of Napa Valley fruit.  His 2008 Cabernet blend is an everyday, well priced, Napa option. For about $20 a bottle the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec offer lots of black fruit (blackberry, black plum) with soft tannins and easy drinking style.

Betty O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Estate Wine

One look at Betty O’Shaughnessy of O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery and you will know that she is a woman who will accomplish what she sets her mind to.  With a fearless glint in her eye and the love she has when she talks about Napa, which brought her from Minneapolis, where she owned a cooking school and was in real estate investment, and the allure of the region, the joy in food and wine pairing, and the desire to make incredibly good Napa Valley Cabernet.  Their Howell Mountain Cab is lush and elegant with lots of cherry, blueberry, and cassis with a smoky finish.

I visited Napa in mid July and tasted the 2007 releases from Rocca Family Vineyards.  They had just been bottled and were still settling in, per say.  I tasted their Grigsby Vineyard Syrah and Grigsby Vineyard Cabernet again yesterday and my, what a few months in the bottle can do.  Both leaped out of the glass with bright fruit, elegant flavors and clean finishes.  The Cab is bold and rich, with lots of cherry and tannic structure.  The Syrah has all the good smoky, meaty notes that I love in a Syrah, with cherry, berry and sweet spice.  Great wine from great people.

Amy Aiken of Meander Cellars

Amy Aiken had been making wine for other wineries since the late1980’s, first for Joseph Phelps, then Viader, Oakville Ranch and Anomaly.  In 2000 she started doing for herself what she had done for others for 10 years, making stellar Cabernet Sauvignon blends.  She named her winery Meander, both because her route to get to her own winery took a very slow, windy road, but also because the name is a combination of her two sons names, Mitchell and Andrew.   Her 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is not as earthy as some I have tasted, this one has lots of balanced fruit with chocolate and coffee and a smooth finish.

One of the best pairings for the night came from Richard Chamberlain and Pahlmeyer.  A paella pan of braised Kobe beef, Yokon gold potatoes and truffle bearnaise sauce with an always elegant Pahlmeyer Cab, both big, beefy and decadent.  David Holben from Del Frisco’s didn’t go beef, instead he made a succulent, perfectly grilled spice rubbed Bay of Fundy salmon with a citrus sauce,  enjoyed the 2009 Petit Coquerel Sauvignon Blanc, crisp and light without too much citrus or too much minerality.   Sevy’s grilled Wagyu strip cooked perfectly medium rare was a burst of smoky flavor, pairing well with Amici Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine devoted to bringing good wine and good friends together, in this case as partners.  Blackberries and currants exude from the glass of this well priced Napa option, with hints of vanilla and nutmeg on the finish.

For more information on the Napa Vintners and all these great wines click here.

Braised Kobe Beef from Chamberlain's

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